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Mastering pep8: Writing Python Code Effortlessly


How to Write Beautiful Python Code With PEP 8

PEP 8, also referred to as PEP8 or PEP-8, is a document that provides guidelines and best practices on how to write Python code. It was written in 2001 by Guido van Rossum, Barry Warsaw, and Alyssa Coghlan. The main objective of PEP 8 is to improve the readability and consistency of Python code.

By following the guidelines set out in PEP 8, you will be able to write Python code that adheres to the recommended standards and practices. In this tutorial, we will explore the key guidelines and explain the reasoning behind them. Additionally, we will provide tips and tricks to help ensure your code follows PEP 8.

Why We Need PEP 8

The Zen of Python states that “Readability counts.” PEP 8 exists to enhance the readability of Python code. Writing readable code is an essential principle of the Python language.

Code is read more often than it is written. While you may spend a considerable amount of time writing a piece of code, you will likely have to revisit and read it multiple times. Therefore, it is crucial to write code that is easy to understand and maintain.

Naming Conventions

Naming conventions play a significant role in the readability of your code. Following consistent naming styles and guidelines can make your code more streamlined and accessible.

Naming Styles

PEP 8 suggests using a combination of lowercase letters, underscores, and digits for most variable, function, and method names. This naming style is known as lowercase_with_underscores or snake_case.

How to Choose Names

Selecting meaningful and descriptive names for your variables, functions, and methods can greatly improve the clarity of your code. Choose names that accurately represent the purpose and functionality of the specific element.

Code Layout

Proper code layout is crucial for readability. PEP 8 provides guidelines on how to structure your code to enhance its clarity.

Blank Lines

Using blank lines effectively can make your code more organized and easy to read. PEP 8 recommends using blank lines to separate different sections of code for better visual separation and clarity.

Maximum Line Length and Line Breaking

PEP 8 states that lines should not exceed 79 characters in length. If a line exceeds this limit, it should be broken into multiple lines for improved readability.


Indentation is vital in Python code as it determines the structure and scope of the code blocks. Following consistent indentation practices ensures that your code is easily understandable.

Tabs vs Spaces

PEP 8 recommends using spaces for indentation instead of tabs. The standard convention is to use four spaces for each level of indentation.

Indentation Following Line Breaks

When a statement requires multiple lines, PEP 8 suggests aligning the subsequent lines with the opening parenthesis or bracket.

Where to Put the Closing Bracket

The closing bracket should be placed on a separate line, aligning it with the indentation level of the opening line. This helps in visually distinguishing the end of a code block.


Comments are essential for documenting your code and making it more understandable for future readers. PEP 8 provides guidelines for writing effective comments.

Block Comments

Block comments are used to describe the purpose or functionality of a larger code block. PEP 8 recommends using block comments sparingly and only when necessary.

Inline Comments

Inline comments are used to provide additional context or explanation for a specific line of code. These comments should be short and concise.

Documentation Strings

Documentation strings, also known as docstrings, are used to describe the purpose and usage of functions, classes, and modules. PEP 8 suggests using docstrings to provide comprehensive documentation for your code.

Whitespace in Expressions and Statements

Proper use of whitespace in expressions and statements can improve the readability and clarity of your code.

Whitespace Around Binary Operators

PEP 8 recommends using spaces around binary operators to make expressions more readable. This includes operators such as +, -, /, *, and =.

When to Avoid Adding Whitespace

In certain cases, adding whitespace would hinder readability rather than enhance it. PEP 8 provides guidelines on when to avoid adding whitespace.

Programming Recommendations

PEP 8 also offers general programming recommendations to ensure code quality and maintainability. These recommendations include using descriptive variable names, keeping functions and methods short and focused, and avoiding unnecessary complexity.

When to Ignore PEP 8

Although it is recommended to follow PEP 8 guidelines, there may be situations where deviating from the standard is justifiable. PEP 8 provides insights into when it is acceptable to ignore certain guidelines.

Tips and Tricks to Help Ensure Your Code Follows PEP 8

To help ensure that your code adheres to PEP 8, there are various tools and techniques available.


Linters are tools that analyze code and highlight potential issues or violations of coding standards. Using a linter can automatically check your code for PEP 8 compliance.


Autoformatters automatically format your code according to PEP 8 guidelines. They can be integrated into your development environment to format your code automatically as you write it.

Combined Tooling

Using a combination of linters, autoformatters, and other development tools can provide comprehensive support for maintaining PEP 8 compliant code.


Following the guidelines laid out in PEP 8 is essential for writing beautiful and readable Python code. By adhering to the standards and best practices set by PEP 8, you can improve the consistency and maintainability of your code. Make use of linters, autoformatters, and other development tools to help ensure compliance with PEP 8 guidelines. Writing PEP 8 compliant code will not only make your code more accessible to others but also improve your own understanding and maintainability of the codebase.